36. Don Alfonso 1890
Liberty Entertainment kingpin Nick Di Donato had long harboured a plan to deliver to Toronto a dining experience of uniquely European grandeur. In 2017, while holidaying on the Amalfi coast, he found the partner he needed just outside of Positano at the two-Michelin-starred Don Alfonso 1890. The restaurant had already launched satellite Don Alfonsos in New Zealand and Macao. Next stop, the Rosewater Supper Club—transformed by designer Nadia Di Donato to feature a blinding quantity of shiny white marble, striking white leather and brass chairs, spiffy art (by Philippe Pasqua and Daniel Mazzone), and the most elaborate selection of extravagantly topographical “flatware” that you’ll find anywhere. Local chef Saverio Macri undertook intensive training at Don Alfonso HQ. At launch, his menu was a transplant. A year on, the culinary results had evolved into a hybrid: some classic dishes lifted from the mothership unadulterated, other times a riff on their ideas adapted to local ingredients—and occasionally, local originals. With their arrestingly contrasted colours and elaborately dotted sauces, the plates are always pretty, but their Italian identity is often subtle. Typically, the tasting menu begins with an array of tartares (bison, tuna, beet) arranged on different puffed chips. Pasta courses include provolone-stuffed ravioli sauced with celeriac purée and saffron foam. Mains include seared Muscovy duck with apple purée, balsamic reduction and demi-glace. New age petits fours arrive in a cascade of smoke from dry ice. The wine list is solidly international. Throngs of waitstaff provide over-attentive service.
Photos: LIBERTY GROUP